The spirit of Maxwell showed through the cloudy skies on Saturday as the high school was once again taken over by the annual Maxwell Rodeo.
The 89-year-old tradition is the longest running event in Colusa County and attracts hundreds of people to the tiny town, doubling the population for the day.
“I try to make it out here every year,” said Gladys Simms of Red Bluff. “It really is a great event.”
Leading up to the rodeo, a parade of dozens of floats made its way down Oak Street. People of all ages lined the streets to watch the procession of floats made by community organizations of every sort.
According Maxwell Rodeo Committee member Randy Wilson, the parade had a higher number of entries than expected with about 50.
The parade ended at Maxwell High School, where the rest of the day’s festivities took place.
Entering the school, visitors could browse the impressive collection of unique cars featured in the classic car show. A total of 70 cars were on display.
Inside the high school, art from Maxwell High School’s annual art show was on display, with grades kindergarten through high school represented.
“The art show was a total success,” Wilson said. “At one point the room was wall to wall with people.”
The horse show began with the American Legion leading the pledge of allegiance.
Children as young as 2 years old participated in various competitions demonstrating their horse training and control abilities. The Lead Line competition was first, followed by the Walk/Jog competition, the Single Stake competition, Barrel Racing and then Birangle.
Next, children seven and under participated in the boot race. To wrap of the show, children ages eight though 11 took a stab a Boot Racing as well.
For those not participating in the rodeo, the Maxwell Fire Department orchestrated a Frog Derby.
“The fire department has been doing this for years,” said Maxwell Fire Department firefighter Jim Lausten. “I don’t know how long it’s been going on exactly but it’s been a really long time.”
A total of 33 kids entered the competition, hoping to receive a prize for placing in one of the top four spots.
Following the rules of a traditional frog jumping competition, participating children were judged on the distance their frog could cover in just three jumps. Each kid had to touch their frog at least once prior to the frogs initial jump to be eligible to compete. Once the child had touch their frog and gotten it in position to jump, they were no longer are allowed to touch their frog. Kids were only allowed to coax the frog by stamping their hands and feet near it or kissing it.
Charolette Mustagni took first place with a frog that jumped 74 inches.
Following closely behind, three frogs jumped their way into a three way tie for second place – jumping 73 inches – and awarding Abby Castillas, Abian Velasquez and Lilian White all with the silver medal status win.
This year’s slogan was, “Grab your spurs, put on your hat, Maxwell Rodeo is were it’s at,” and attendees needed a hat as the rain started to come down during the middle of the festivities.
“The weather didn’t really cooperate but that didn’t dampen spirits,” Wilson said. “Nothing was going to stop us as long as the weather didn’t.”
By the time the much anticipated rodeo began, the rain was pouring steadily.
The Maxwell Rodeo showcases both professionals and junior rodeo – and the youngsters arguably attracted just as big of a crowd as the professionals. Just like the adults, kids raced around poles, barrels and practiced roping while riding their trusty steeds.
Because of the rain, only three of the schedule rodeo events took place this year.
“The footing wasn’t safe for riders or horses so as a committee we decided it was a safety issue and canceled the rest of the events,” said Amber Charter, Rodeo Committee member and teacher at Maxwell High School.
The rodeo and all of the other events held are organized each year by student committees from Maxwell High School.
“I am proud of my students who worked hard regardless of the weather to get their committee work done,” Charter said. “It's an amazing opportunity at Maxwell High School for ALL students to participate in the planning, execution and clean up of an event. It really gives the students real-world experience.”